20th century manuscript copy
by Margaret Maher 1996
To my mind an ancient Irish Law needs to be re-introduced and accepted on a worldwide scale as there is much to be said for its’ humanitarian qualities.
The Cáin Adomnáin (Law of Adomnáin), also known as the Lex Innocentium (Law of Innocents) was promulgated amongst a gathering of Irish, the Dál Riatan, at the Synod of Birr in 697. It is named after its initiator, Adomnáin of Iona, ninth Abbot of Iona after St. Columba.
This set of laws were designed, among other things, to guarantee the safety and immunity of various types of non-combatants in warfare.
They provided sanctions against the killing of children, clerics, clerical students and peasants on clerical lands; against rape, against impugning the chastity of a women, prohibited women from having to take part in warfare, and more besides. Adomnáin's initiative appears to be one of the first systematic attempts to lessen the savagery of warfare.
All through my life (I was born during WW2) the senseless murder of women and children has taken place around the world. Many of these atrocities have been under the umbrella of one religion or other, as if there was some sort of virtue to be gained. There is no justification in the killing of people whether it is under the mantle of that termed judicial or not.
The taking of another life is still murder. To specifically target women and children who are non-combatants only shows up the callousness of the perpetrator.
In light of the atrocities being committed as I type, perhaps it is time for all nations to turn to the wisdom of Adomnáin.